The International Business Times once asked Ruby Dhalla is she ever faced any sexism from her colleagues, the media or the public?
Ever the politicians, Dhalla gave a diplomatic answer: “Whenever you’re breaking new ground, there are always challenges, struggles and sacrifices… There is a certain perception as to what politicians should look like, and since I didn’t fit that description everyone had their own opinions. However, everyone that told me it couldn’t be done actually inspired me to work harder to prove them wrong.”
Ruby Dhalla was only 10 years old when she voiced her opinions to political leaders. Living in India, she wrote a letter pleading to the prime minister for peace and justice after soldiers took military action at Punjab’s Golden Temple. Indira Ghandi replied to the letter and even referred to it at a press conference and invited Dhalla to visit India. Months later, Prime Minister Ghandi was assassinated. Ruby Dhalla was academically gifted and was a successful student. She continued following her passion for politics throughout her education. She moved to Canada in 1995 and got her doctorate in 1999.
In 2004 Dhalla was the first woman from India elected into the Canadian government. She was also the first woman from India to get elected in the world into a government outside of India. Dhalla was appointed to the Standing Committee of Health and became an articulate and strong voice for minorities and women including a vote in favor of same sex marriage in 2005. She was re-elected the following year and shortly after was reassigned to Social Development. She faced a difficult election in 2008, but was able to win the re-election and continued to raise issues regarding minorities, women and youth while also promoting trade between Canada and emerging economies.
In 2009 she was appointed as the Liberal critic for Youth and Multiculturalism. A few months later, she stepped down from the position amid allegations of illegally hiring and mistreating two individuals to take care of her mother. She asked for an ethics investigation to be opened in order to clear her name. Articles started appearing in the newspapers stating that her supporters were few and that many held her to be a self-promoting and high maintenance while not wanting to participate in the mundane duties of parliament. There were no charges filed.